Characteristics of teaching
Teachers have the greatest responsibility when it comes to quality of education. Teaching requires commitment, educational leadership, and the ability of conveying knowledge in a way that enables students to acquire it. However, knowledge, although important, is not the only necessary parameter for successful teaching. Teachers also need to understand students’ needs, the way they think, and to be able to maintain their attention in class in order to be successful.
Teaching also depends on the quality of school, its organization, and staff who are able to provide students with all the help they need when it comes to educational challenges. Of course, in the end, it all comes down to the key relationship between students and the teacher, their cooperation in the classroom and outside of it. These are all characteristics of teaching that need to be examined in order to achieve a high level of quality in education.
6 characteristics of teaching that help students be successful
In order to achieve significant success in education, students and teachers need to develop mutual trust. Of course, teachers have a great responsibility for creating a positive classroom atmosphere, because their task is to convey knowledge to students and prepare them for all the challenges that lie ahead. Many characteristics of teaching essential both for success in school and life arise from that relationship.
1. Active learning techniques
It has long been known that classes where the teacher talks incessantly throughout the lecture, while the students are passive listeners, do not yield satisfactory results. Modern education requires active student participation, which can be achieved by using some of the following active learning techniques:
- Discussion – classroom is a place where students are entitled to their own opinion regarding the topic that is being discussed. It is important that students have their own attitude, because that way, they will look at the lesson being covered from their own, personal angle. In addition, discussion yields answers to various questions that may not have been even asked otherwise.
- Brainstorming – creative thinking and sharing ideas on a given topic is a great learning technique, because it encourages students to come up with a solution together. In brainstorming, there are no wrong answers, which relieves students of the anxiety that they have done something wrong.
- Note taking – active notetaking means covering a lesson “in one’s own words” (instead of merely copying what the teacher says). Another great example of active note taking is creating one’s own system of explanations and linking terms with certain parts of the text. Notes created in this way improve student comprehension of the teaching material, and encourage them to always seek and write down answers to the questions that interest them.
- Teamwork – joint problem solving during lectures and work on school projects are highly effective teaching methods for student engagement. Instead of passively listening to the teacher’s presentation, students help each other to achieve a common goal.
Applying what one has learned outside the classroom is another great method of active learning. There are various methods where children can reach answers to the questions asked in class through play. This way, they acquire necessary experience through practical examples, which is very important for the understanding of the lesson.
2. Great learning environment
Environment in which teaching takes place is extremely important for a positive learning experience. To make students feel comfortable, schools strive to create an inspirational learning environment. The classroom is a central place for educational activities, which is why it should be visually appealing. This is why classrooms are usually filled with colorful posters and pictures that send positive messages (respect your classmates, read books, eat healthy, etc.).
If the classroom is equipped with modern technologies, it will additionally facilitate both students’ learning and teachers’ instruction because computers and tablets provide a multimedia experience familiar and relatable to younger generations. A great learning environment also helps in overcoming psychological school-related challenges, such as the fear of the unknown, depression, shyness, etc. As a result of a positive approach, students respond better to lessons and consequently achieve better results in tests.
3. Clear communication
The way in which the teacher communicates with students is crucial for learning. Teachers’ manner and approach to students may vary, while some are relaxed, others firmly believe in maintaining discipline. Regardless of the personal style, a good teacher is expected to present the lesson in a clear and age-appropriate way.
The subject areas are often extremely complex, e.g. computer science, but that does not mean that the lesson should be impossible to understand. Every information can be conveyed in an engaging and clear manner, especially if the information is linked to good examples from everyday life. Students should ask different questions during class, and the teacher should answer them clearly and precisely.
Clear communication is also important in class when student knowledge is tested during the school year (both orally and in writing). Test questions must be clearly formulated so as to avoid insecurity and confusion in students. The same applies to oral exams, where clear communication is even more important, for example, the teacher’s criteria and the level of knowledge needed to get a passing or good grade. In this way, conflict and stressful situations which could ruin a positive classroom atmosphere are avoided.
4. Good relationship between teacher and student
Student-teacher relationships should be characterized by mutual respect. To build such a positive relationship, both sides have to demonstrate positive qualities. On the one hand, teachers will earn students’ respect if they set clear and fair rules. Effective classroom management is very important in this case since students expect a certain level of discipline and the lack of it may cause an unproductive classroom atmosphere.
In addition to clearly presented rules of conduct, the teacher builds the relationship by proving his/her competency by demonstrating knowledge in class (answering student questions, designing creative lessons). Showing interest in students’ needs and recognizing their personal talents will improve the level of trust which directly affects the quality of teaching.
As respect is a two-way street, students should also demonstrate willingness and be cooperative in class. Showing respect for the teacher’s work is not only important for high-quality teaching with less stress, but also shows respect for authority, which is very important for one’s future career where students will find themselves in different roles, and where their career may often depend on how they treat their coworkers.
5. Critical thinking
One of the main teaching goals is the development of critical thinking in students. It helps them to combine acquired knowledge, and personal skills and attitudes to correctly interpret the obtained information. In practice, this means that teachers should encourage students to interpret the received information in their own way, and to take a certain position which they will defend with arguments. This is one of the requirements for successfully overcoming obstacles in life, which is why critical-thinking education is extremely important both in modern education, and life in general.
Critical thinking is also important in education, because it helps one to see the world from a personal angle, thus developing positive qualities in children. This is why various techniques of critical thinking are implemented since elementary education, through high school, and finally in higher education. The higher the level of education, the more important critical thinking becomes because it helps students to obtain significant knowledge and scientific achievements.
Students will face various situations in their lives where they will need to assess the situation and make a decision based on the acquired knowledge and experience, instead of external pressure or propaganda.
6. Problem solving
One of the most important characteristics of teaching is problem solving. Not only is overcoming obstacles crucial for successful education, but it also represents the foundation for a successful professional and private life. Although it may not seem like it, teachers find it hard to define tasks that will be challenging enough without being too hard. Appropriate tasks will not make students feel helpless and inadequate, but will encourage them to work toward a solution.
Problem solving helps in the development of important qualities, such as patience, teamwork, diligence, and logical reasoning. In addition, by solving challenges through the application of the knowledge acquired in class, students begin to understand the practical value of learning. All this knowledge improves one’s learning in school, but also understanding of everyday challenges.
Same goal, different learning styles
Every teacher has their own unique methods when it comes to teaching and classroom management. However, the goal is always the same – to transfer knowledge to students and improve their skills. Modern teaching methods improve student engagement which in turn enables better results. New technologies aside, effective teachers, hard work, and honesty are still among the most important characteristics of teaching and learning.
Only with such an approach is it possible to provide students with a quality education, supported by the school and optimal classroom conditions. It is the best way to have students leave school as mature, responsible, and educated individuals who will make the most of their skills to improve the world around them.